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A Meeting of the Minds Over Primary Care in Illinois

PHOTO: Local health leaders and educators are gathering in Chicago Tuesday with national experts to examine the ways Illinois is working to improve primary care. Photo credit: Vic/Flickr.
PHOTO: Local health leaders and educators are gathering in Chicago Tuesday with national experts to examine the ways Illinois is working to improve primary care. Photo credit: Vic/Flickr.
May 19, 2015

CHICAGO - It's a meeting of the minds over medical care in Illinois as doctors, pharmacists and educators are gathering in Chicago today to highlight community-based interventions that are improving health and enhancing primary care.

Board chair of Family Medicine for America's Health, Dr. Glen Stream, says Illinois has a history of innovations that put patients at the center of their health care. He says some unique practices involve better connecting elderly patients with their primary care physician.

"They don't have transportation or they're so frail that that's not possible," he says. "Creating medical systems with physicians and other health care team providers to reach out to folks and actually see them in their home."

Panelists today will share experiences that have cut costs and improved health outcomes in Illinois including efforts to integrate mental health into primary care, physician training to better care for medically under-served communities, and programs teaching students the skills needed in the health workforce of the future.

The event is part of the "Health Is Primary," campaign, which is traveling the country to build awareness of the importance of primary care. Stream says a family physician is a key ally in the prevention of disease.

"It gets dreary sometimes day after day when you see folks who are facing terrible health issues and chronic medical problems but if you can really work with that person to prevent that chronic illness," says Stream. "That's what family doctors love to do."

Stream says nearly two-thirds of every dollar spent on health care is linked to chronic health conditions that could potentially be prevented or managed more effectively through primary care.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL